The Raptors are 1-1 which is a far cry from the 5-0 at which they started last year -- to say nothing of 2-0. The Nuggets are in town which is, hmmm, a testy situation. Denver is not a good team as such, but they're not bad, if that makes sense. They can make you work.
For one, Nikola Jokic is the kind of big man who gives Jonas Valanciunas fits. And Jusuf Nurkic may end up pushing Pascal Siakam. Alternatively, this game may give the Raptors a chance to really run with their young guys -- minus Lucas Nogueira who is out with an ankle sprain. They're not exactly facing down a team of seasoned vets tonight, with only Danilo Gallinari to provide some veteran know-how. That's where the excitement will start for the Raptors.
In the backcourt, the Raptors have the clear upperhand, with experience and knowledge and solid skills. Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan will have a time with the likes of Emmanuel Mudiay, Will Barton, Gary Harris and [checks paper] Jameer Nelson.
There's a lot of energy on Denver, but the Raptors have been here before.
Before tip-off, have a read of Michael Grange's superlative feature on Kyle Lowry. He's a tough guy to crack, and yet Grange managed to get some interesting insight into Lowry's life and the arc of his career. Plus, Chauncey Billups' John Stockton anecdote is great.
Then get up to speed with our preview from Matt Teague. Or check out our pre-game Facebook Live video with me and Sean Woodley.